Showing posts from 2011

Brandon Gerel: The Road, Being and Other Abstractions

Two months have passed since I arrived in Vienna. And I still consider this to be the best decision I have made in my life. Within the last 2 months I have visited 8 different cities in 4 different countries with many more to come. Along the way I have met so many interesting people and have got to experience many different cultures. If your aim is to broaden your horizon, this is where it is at.

What more can I say. You have to see it with your eyes to believe it.

Stephanie Siu: The Summer Weather of October

The month of October just flew by before I knew it. After going through the phase of settling in during the month of September, it was time to properly gear down for the school semester in France. October was full of projects and presentations, all of which were group projects.
With the sudden rain storms and the evening chills, all the international students here, caught the inevitable cold/flu virus. Once the germ storm passed, the weather in Caen decided to be sunny, with highs of 18° C during the days. We were told by locals that this year’s weather has been quite unusual and is usually bitter cold by now. However, no one was complaining and students here took advantage of the sunny skies by heading to the nearest beaches after school.
I was advised, before traveling to Caen, to expect cold and harsh wet weather. I was very surprised to experience the opposite. I actually had to have summer clothes sent to me, via FedEx, as I only packed warm sweaters and jeans! I’ve learned when …

Diana Pham: Travelling to Belgium

Belgium is such a beautiful country. Brussels looks so much like Vancouver because of the grass, the trees, the street designs, the brisk air, and the atmosphere in general. It is also has a lot of different ethnic foods. However, what is really different is how restaurants serve water. Tap water is never served in Belgium; you have to buy their bottled water. I tried asking for hot water on a cold day and they thought that was very weird too.

*Diana in France

Alyssa Grant: My Extended Disney Family

When I was first interviewed for this experience at Disney I knew I wanted to come here for the amount of international people I would meet.Being that my aim in school is to complete an international business specialization, this was the biggest plus I could ever imagine.I am happy to say that I have met some of the most amazing friends here that also just happen to be international program participants as well.I can honestly say that they have made this program worthwhile and without them, I would not be able to complete or even come close to finishing this program.

Last month we had an event called Matsuri, which literally means festival, honoring the Japanese participants.Even though it was mainly for the Japanese, there were at least 2-3 thousand people that came to this matsuri to celebrate the Japanese culture throughout the night.At the matsuri, there was free food and drink, activities, dancing and pictures with Mickey and Minnie in their kimonos; my friend had told me this was…

Diana Pham: Chocolate Tofu Pudding?

The school cafeteria serves chocolate pudding. The first time I ate it I exclaimed, “What?! This is chocolate TOFU pudding! I didn’t know that tofu is so popular in France!” Everyone laughed and no one believed me. I made everyone try it and yes, some thought it did kind of taste like tofu, but the majority of them just thought I was crazy. After a long ten-minute debate, I concluded that ok…maybe it isn’t chocolate TOFU pudding, but it must DEFINITELY be made with soy milk. Everyone was happy with that conclusion. In the end, one of my German friends said, “Wow, I can’t believe we just spent 10 minutes talking about pudding. We’ve never done that in Germany before.” I guess I just like to have a good debate.

You can also follow Diana's adventure in France at

Jessica Lau: Treated differently for being over 25… Really?!

Well, I am over 25 years old and proud of it! Back in Vancouver, I go to school with a lot of younger people and I have never felt bother or given much thought to this age difference. Back in Vancouver, I am treated as a student, despite my age. I get the same incentives and deals as other fellow students. But this is not the case in France. Before I came to France to study, I already knew I would not qualify for the 12-25 card, which allows students to get major discount for train tickets. But when I came here, I realized it’s not just the 12-25 card. Even for opening up a bank account, I would not get the offer as other students because I am over 25 years old. Really?!
It’s not the fact that I’m not qualified for these deals that bother me and I want to blog about it. It’s more than that; I’m thinking and questioning why should people like me be treated differently? Why should we be categorized and discriminated out for stuff because I am over 25? What about people who lost their job…

Stephanie Chen: The Start of a New Journey

After continuous planning, the final day has arrived. It was time for me to take on this study abroad experience. I have decided to make this experience worthwhile by travelling around Europe before school starts. I took a trip to Copenhagen, Prague, Athens, and Ios for two weeks, then flew back to Paris. When I arrived at Paris CDG airport, a French student from Sup de Co picked me up and helped me purchase my train ticket to Amiens. The French student told me that I had two minutes to get myself and my luggage onto the train. When the train arrived, I threw my bags into the train and hopped on. I was laughing really hard because I could barely lift my luggage, let alone throwing it into the train. Tip #1: bring as little as possible or work out those arm muscles beforehand.
After 1h30mins, I arrived at Amiens. It was a beautiful small town. I was fortunate that two French students picked me up from the train station and helped me with my luggage. They took me to the school to get my…

Brandon Gerel: The Road, Being and Other Abstractions

Throughout the course of my academic career, this trip is hands down the most gratifying and fulfilling choice I have made. It was really convenient that I was acquainted with my “buddy” before I arrived in Vienna. She picked me up from the airport and showed me how to get to my accommodation. Moreover, during my first few days in Vienna, I accompanied her to Upper Austria to visit her sister as well as see different part of Austrian lifestyle. During my first week of stay, I equipped myself with my laptop and camera and went exploring the illustrious city of Vienna by myself. I went by myself and explored high and low and got lost couple of times. But thats part of the fun, I suppose I noticed that although not everybody speaks English they are certainly willing and able to help you if you ask them politely.
I arrived in Vienna on 25th of August and I found out that I was the first one to arrive. In the following days all the students participated in various social activities and I wa…

Stephanie Siu: Bienvenue en France!

After about a 13 hour flight from Vancouver –> Toronto –> Montreal, I finally arrived in Paris! The city was beautiful and still sleeping at 6:30am. My stay in Paris only lasted about 3 days, but I just wanted to get a feel of France before moving into my stay in Caen. During my 3 day stay I felt the hustle and bustle of Parisians and the fast past environment they live in. Snaking through their labyrinth of a metro (aka. subway) system was an adventure itself, as all their metro lines are underground. The Parisian attitude towards English speaking tourists weren’t as bad as I was told. I did, however, tried my best to speak the little knowledge of French I knew. Using my hands to explain what I wanted helped a lot as well.
As my 3 day journey in Paris came to an end, it was time for me to head to Caen, via train. Taking the train from Paris was the only means of getting to that city. I was lucky enough that I had my sister with me to help me find my way there. We bought our tra…

Tessa Shing: Journey to Independence

The two weeks in Riverside, California was unforgettable. People from all France, England, Japan, Korea, Morocco, and many other places from all over the world came together and spent their two weeks living in the not so comfy Comfort Inn. Every day was the same routine, get up at 6 in the morning, eat a quick breakfast, walk to school, sit in class for a good eight hours, and then back to our hotel we go. During the weekends we had time to visit cities around us. During the first weekend we tried planning a trip to go to Los Angeles however we realized that you must be 25 years or older to rent a 7 passenger vehicle so we ended up at Taylor Mall and did some shopping. The next day we headed to Balboa Beach where we got to suntan, lie on the beach, and run into the ocean of waves. We also took a small ferry to Balboa Island which is just a five minute ferry ride away and it only cost 1 dollar! When we left Balboa and head back to Riverside, I noticed that I got a really bad sunburn ev…

Alycia Perry: The Most Magical Experience at the Most Magical Place on Earth

This has been the most amazing educational and work experience I have had in my entire life. Disney World is by far the one of the best places to interact with Guests and Cast Members, enjoy the work you are participating in, and have fun all the way through.The time I have spent here may be short, only just over one month now, but I have learned a lot about myself and about customer service in general. I have also learned a lot from the people around me about their cultures and differences. We are all one big family of Disney Cast Members living in a close community. I am living at Vista Way apartments with three other roommates and two of them are from Vancouver and one from Morocco! There are so many different cultures here and I enjoy learning about each and every one.
The University of California, Riverside provided insight and knowledge about the tourism industry itself as well as different ways to provide excellent customer service. I completed this schooling on July 15, 2011. W…

Melissa Kuiper: An Experience That Will Last a Lifetime!

I’ve only been here for approximately 3 weeks but it feels like so much longer.I have completed my work at The University of California, Riverside and passed with an A- and I have just finished all of my recreation orientation classes and training classes for my job as a lifeguard at Disney’s All Stars Resort and will actually be starting my non-training shift today!
Along with all of that, I have visited the Animal Kingdom Park (which is by far my favorite park at Walt Disney) and of course the Magic Kingdom Park where I went on the rides and stayed to watch the amazing Magic Kingdom light show and fireworks show.
As a cast member, we have free access to all of the parks here and I cannot wait till I have time to visit the rest of the parks! Why do I feel like it’s been so much longer, well that’s because I’ve done so much in such a short period of time.
This experience so far has just been amazing!I am living at one of Disney’s Cast Member’s apartments called Vista Way and there are …